Legion seeking suicide prevention input

Legion seeking suicide prevention input

The American Legion has been at the forefront of helping to prevent military and veteran suicides. During The American Legion’s 2009 National Convention, the Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division developed a comprehensive suicide prevention and referral program for the National VA&R Commission. The VA&R Commission invited Dr. Janet Kemp, VA’s national suicide prevention coordinator, to facilitate training for 83 VA&R Commission members in attendance. After the convention, VA&R Commission members and volunteers developed American Legion state, district and post training programs to provide referrals for veterans in distress with VA’s National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-8255). The American Legion currently has more than 60 posts with active Suicide Prevention and Referral programs.

In recent years, VA also implemented local suicide prevention coordinators at all of the 154 VA medical centers nationwide. In December 2009, The American Legion worked with Kemp and Laura Balun, VA Chief of Voluntary Service, to develop a volunteer position description where volunteers can register at local VA medical centers Voluntary Service offices to work with the VA medical center’s local suicide prevention coordinator. Currently, VA is recruiting for volunteers to distribute suicide prevention materials in Albany, NY; St. Louis, Mo.; Miami; Atlanta and Phoenix. The volunteer position allows the local suicide prevention to provide the volunteers with materials that can be shared with the state, district and local posts. The volunteer can also help VA connect with the VSO leadership to schedule Suicide Prevention and Referral training.

The American Legion wants to hear from member volunteers and posts that have active suicide prevention programs. If you have helped coordinate suicide prevention and referral training, distributed literature to departments, districts or posts or registered as a VA volunteer and are working with the facility’s local suicide prevention coordinator, please e-mail Jacob Gadd.  

For more information about VA’s Suicide Prevention programs, click here. To assist with Suicide Prevention referrals and help VA distribute program materials, please contact your local VA Medical Center’s Voluntary Service Office or register online here.

More in Veterans Benefits Center

 

SefiraMoon

July 21, 2011 - 12:43pm

It's like there's this buffer, and when things get stressful, the gage sort of goes up on the buffer as to how stressful things are before I might feel suicidal. Now in the civilian world, there are weekends, breaks, and generally time to recoup on the mental state. While deployed, there are no days off. Breaks are almost non-existant. It's running around for 12-16 hours a day dealing with endless stress. Now most of these stressors aren't that bad. But when you come into a slew of heavy hitting stressors that hit again and again, and there's no reprieve anywhere in sight, it raises the bar. I know I always think, I can take it, I can take it, mostly because I have to take it. But I have hit the limit a few times, and it's like suddenly all rationality goes out the window and I just feel like it's purely enough. And at that wall, death sometimes feels like it's the only real way out. At this point I wonder why I would even think that and I take a time out, but how many people don't?

ewmiller76

October 22, 2010 - 2:13pm

You can have everything in place, but if Legion members at various posts didn't act like snobs to other Veterans whom aren't members of 'their' post and were more helpful and caring to Homeless and/or low-income Veterans that walk thru their doors. As well as train any/all NEW Post Commanders in what services are actually available. You could prevent Veteran suicides just by being a friend(brother/sister in ARMS) when a friend(brother/sister in ARMS) is needed most and not just prevent suicides but also reduce the number of Homeless Veterans as well which is another priority of the American Legion. I personally have witnessed this 'snobbish' behavior.. and it is either income based or Age/Service time-frame(Viet vs. Desert Storm vs. Iraqi Freedom) based. The American Legion should be 'Inviting' to all Veterans regardless of social status.

RJDOUGH

October 22, 2010 - 12:21am

Yes, definitely a tough nut to crack considering that 30 vets attempt suicide every day! Although only 18 succeed, consider those who partake in high risk activities such as scuba diving, sky diving, motor cross, etc. There are no stats on those who die doing those activities which may actually be a suicide attempt! Often suicidal vets do not want to interact with the real world. The only way to save some vets is by earning their trust to a point they would call you if they were considering suicide. The only person who can earn their trust is usually another vet!

RJDOUGH

October 22, 2010 - 12:21am

Yes, definitely a tough nut to crack considering that 30 vets attempt suicide every day! Although only 18 succeed, consider those who partake in high risk activities such as scuba diving, sky diving, motor cross, etc. There are no stats on those who die doing those activities which may actually be a suicide attempt! Often suicidal vets do not want to interact with the real world. The only way to save some vets is by earning their trust to a point they would call you if they were considering suicide. The only person who can earn their trust is usually another vet!

bill.luce

October 21, 2010 - 5:33pm

The US lacks the debriefing time from combat zone to the life they left. Both have two different sets of priorities. The soldier has no time to re-establish himself so that he feels good about himself and what he came from. The Canadian and other Armies have a debriefing program where the soldiers spend time with the soldiers they servrd with outside the zone to debrief. I have mentioned this for years and to no avail in the system. Also, I believe that the emphasis must be on the value of the soldier to those they would leave behind ---Sort of a modern day "It's a Wonderful Life". All the emphasis on identification The "ACE" Cards lets those who are seriously contemplating suscide as a course of action--know what behaviors NOT to display--which gives the soldier NO WHERE TO TURN for fear of career distruction. I am sure no one will read this and that is OK---BUT, I only have 28 years in boots---how many do you have. Have a nice day.

coachmontgomery

October 21, 2010 - 2:27pm

Gentelman: I am the author of the book: Healing Suicidal Veterans and former "hotliner" on the National Suicide Crisis Hotline at the VA Medical Center in Canandaigua, New York. I am also a Legion member for many years in California and National. In October 2009, I sent the National American Legion Headquarters information about my new book release: Healing Suicidal Veterans: Recognizing, Supporting and Answering Their Pleas for Help (New Horizon Press, Oct 2009). My web page: healingsuicidalveterans.com also talks about answers to your question: Legion Seeks Suicidal Prevention Input. I know the statistics...suicide continues to rise among veterans and active duty...I wish someone would get the news out about my book... nationally. Please take a look at my web...I have designed it as a tool to help with suicide prevention as well as for caregivers and VA support centers across the nation. Regards, Vic

jaxdad

October 20, 2010 - 10:01am

I would like to address the the subject . i was discharged from the navy after 19 years 2 month after having had a stroke and seziure disorder this was in 1994 since that time my health / mental health has gone down hill .i have attempted to kill myself and still have depression . i have stopped seeking help ,why well the pills have no effect and the programs that are in place in my area are all overloaded and the mind set is get in get out.i wish there was a program that was around that helped . i have been living in the dark for a long time .

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Tell us what you think